An Aspirin For Love
An Aspirin For Love9 mins 487 9 mins 487
Yogesh was restlessly looking through the window of 1st class AC compartment, his eyes scanning for any young woman coming towards his compartment. No one was in sight. Finally, the train’s whistle went off and the train started moving. He was a bit dejected and he leaned back on his seat.
The berth in front of him was vacant. While getting on the train he saw the reservation chart and saw a lovely name, Dr. Akshara Basu, just next to his name. He was thrilled that he will have the company of a young doctor. He assumed she will be young as the name was modern and generally Bengali girls are very good looking. But it was his bad luck that maybe this girl decided not to travel at the last moment. He closed his eyes.
He heard some shuffling noise and on opening his eyes to his surprise saw a Banjaran woman, clad in traditional Banjaran gagra dress, with a lot of jingling beaded jewelry, moved with difficulty in the speed of the train and reaching the vacant seat flopped herself on the seat. She was panting with exertion, maybe because she was running to catch the train. She had a small cloth bundle with her. Wiping her face with the edge of her dupatta, she turned to Yogesh and flashed a smile.
Yogesh looked at her too stunned. She had a very dark complexion, long well-oiled plaited hair, but her eyes were like a magnetic pool, too big and attractive. When she smiled she flashed a very bright set of teeth, a contrast to her dark skin.
Yogesh asked, “You are coming from the village?” She nodded her head vigorously, her long earrings jingling, she said, “Ha, Sahib, I am from Kutura village, You know where is that village?” She giggled for no reason.
The train gathered speed. Dr. Yogesh booked this night train from Baroda to Mumbai, because his schedule to attend this conference in Mumbai was decided in the last minute and, he could not get an air ticket. Though he was in Baroda for the past five years he had not heard about a village called Kutura. Maybe it was some tiny tribal village tucked at some remote corner of Baroda. But he was now concerned about this village illiterate girl who had got into a first-class unaware of the fact that this is the first class and reserved compartment. Soon the ticket checker will come and since the train was a fast train, which will not stop for the next two hours, he may penalize this girl with a heavy fine. He heard the ticket checker in the neighbouring compartment.
He leaned toward the girl and asked, “Do you have a ticket for first class? This is first-class reserved one”
The girl widened her eyes and her brows knitted in confusion as she said, “Means what? Which ticket?”
Yogesh was shocked to see that even today such ignorant people exist in India. He said, “There is a ticket collector checking the tickets. He will ask you to pay big money. Otherwise, he will put you in jail”
The girl showed a shocked expression and standing up picked her bundle and started moving and said, “I will jump from the train outside”
Yogesh caught her hand and said, “The train is moving very fast, you can’t jump. Do one thing. Go and hide inside the toilet next to this compartment. After some time you come back. By the time ticket collector would have gone”
She nodded her head vigorously and ran to the washroom next to the compartment. The ticket collector walked in took Yogesh’s ticket and returning it walked away to the next compartment. After ten minutes the girl came back with all her jingle-jingle noise and smiled broadly at Yogesh. For no reason, Yogesh felt happy.
Minutes ticked on and he did not know how to make a conversation to a village girl. Then he saw that she was frequently rubbing her forehead with both her hand and her eyes showed pain.
Yogesh got a chance to talk. He asked, “Are you having a headache?” She nodded her head again very vigorously and said, “Yes, I traveled a lot by bullock cart, you know. It was very hot. Now I am having a very bad headache”
He opened is the briefcase and took out an aspirin tablet and said, “I am a doctor. This tablet is very good for a headache you can take it”
She hesitated and said, “ I don’t know what tablet it is! How will I take it from you?”
Yogesh rattled on a lecture for 15 minutes as to how the headache is generally caused due to tension stress etc. and how this tablet will enter the bloodstream and can calm the spots on the brain which causes the pain. He enjoyed his own speech and was pleased that he could strike a conversation with her.
She looked too amazed and said, “So many things happen inside our head! I never knew. So kind of you to teach me all this. Next time anyone in the village gets a headache I will explain all this to them” She put her hand out and said, “Please, give me the tablet”
Yogesh noticed that her fingers in spite of her dark complexion was sort of very pink and very tender. He placed the tablet on her hand and also gave his bottle of water to help her to swallow.
She swallowed the tablet and drank the water from a height of six inched from her mouth, half drenching her, and returned it back to him. She stretched herself on the seat with her bundle below her head and within seconds was fast asleep. Yogesh kept watching her sleeping so innocently for some time till he fell into a deep sleep.
He woke up in the morning and found that the train had reached Mumbai, Dadar station. As he looked at the front seat he found that the dark beauty had already left. He thought that she might have got frightened that some other ticket collector might catch her and hence ran away when the train stopped.
He got down and as he started walking towards the exit he found a Banner about the Conference and some volunteers waiting there to receive the participants. He took the bus arranged for them and reached the Hotel in Bandra.
After a good shower, he took the pamphlets of his Pharmaceutical Company which he had to distribute in the venue and proceeded to the venue. In between for no reason, the large eyes of the dark beauty were flashing in his mind of and on.
He was a bit late and had to take a seat in the second row from the main Dias of the speakers which he hated. In all the conferences he had attended so far, he always preferred to take some of the back seats and comfortably fall asleep as and when the lectures became boring. But today he had no choice.
The conference began. After the inauguration speech, the announcer said, “ The next lecture will be delivered by Dr. Akshara Bose, who will be talking about her research on the painkiller drugs” The name made Yogesh sit upright. He pondered heart in heart, “Maybe this lady took a flight instead of the train”
As the spotlight flooded over her, Dr. Akshara moved near the mike amidst the auditorium’s exploding applause. A smart thin lady with a crisp short hair, clad in a deep blue coloured sari, she instantly made a striking impression. She started, “Hello, Friends……” The familiarity of the voice instantly shook Yogesh.
He focused and tried to see the lady more clearly. Oh God, it was the same village girl now on Dias and giving a lecture on medicine! In the floodlight, her milky complexion shined and her short hair bounced enchantingly as she shook her head and emphasized some points in her lecture.
Sweat poured from Yogesh's forehead even in the freezing AC. This lady was the same one, who was dressed like a village girl and traveled with him yesterday night. Why she did that was another question. But he had made a fool of himself and lectured about a simple Aspirin to her, exaggerating and adding imaginary facts to this great doctor! Oh God,! What a shame and embarrassment!
He wished that he could just vanish and disappear into the thin air or get up and run!. But he was right in the centre of the second row and he cannot even get up. His boss had specially told him that after the lectures he should meet all the speakers and hand them over the pamphlets of his company. OH God! How will he ever face her!
As she was speaking her eyes swept through the gathered audience and for one moment they stopped and her eyes locked into his eyes. He wriggled like a worm on his seat
At the lunch break, he took his plate and ran to a remote corner sat on a table. He decided that he will cook up some stories to his boss about not giving the pamphlet to Dr. Akshara. A voice startled him as Akshara standing near his table said, “Hope you don’t mind if I sit here, Dr. Yogesh?”
Yogesh had a lump on his throat. Unable to talk he stared at her pathetically. She smiled warmly and sat in front of him and started talking on her own.
“Yogesh, we had a medical checkup camp in the tribal village yesterday evening. To make the tribal more comfortable with us we always have some programs for them. As I am basically interested in dancing I did a tribal dance for them. After the program, my other friends moved away with my luggage but some of those tribals were asking me so many questions that I lagged behind, and I got delayed for the train. I did not have the time even to remove my makeup and rushed in and I got into the train as it is. Initially, I was about to tell you my name but then seeing you mistaking me for a village girl, I decided to have some fun” She laughed heartily. She added “ For your information, when the ticket checker came I was standing in the passage and showed him the ticket and was not hiding in the toilet” She laughed again.
Yogesh fumbled for words and said, “I am so, so sorry Madam. I made a fool of myself”
Akshara laughed once again and said, “ No, No Yogesh that lecture on Aspirin was the best lecture I had ever heard in my entire life” She got up with her plate and smiled again and said, “Ok, See you then” She walked away.
Yogesh still sat with his plate as it is. He had not touched his food. He thought of getting up and wanted to wipe his fingers. As he looked around he saw a folded tissue tucked below his glass of water. Half wondering why there is a folded tissue he opened it. There was a note on it. “Don’t hesitate to call me. Maybe we can talk more on aspirin again.” Next, to that, there was a cell number.
Too stunned he looked around. Akshara standing near the ice cream table turned and looked at him and flashed a smile.